November 7th, 2016



I baked classic shortbread cookies on Sunday. Well, the "vanilla added" classic, since the strictest definition is only butter, sugar and flour. Turned out quite good! I am glad I realized my mixer (not a stand, a hand-held one) does, in fact, have a paddle attachment - it saved me quite a bit of time, as did using the powdered sugar in place of granulated.

When I went to roll out the dough (since I do not own a cookie press and I don't intend to buy one), it was sticky-ish even after 30 minutes in the fridge, so I decided to roll it between the sheets of plastic, just the way it was sitting in the fridge - it worked beautifully. Rolled it out, cut into strips, poked with fork (maybe I should have arranged them on the baking sheet (lined with my new best friend, parchment paper) before poking - I was too forceful on some pokes, and broke two of the cookies that way), lined up ad put in the oven. I had too many to fit on my one baking tray, so I used my pizza tray (much thinner and with holes in the bottom) to bake the rest - and those on the pizza tray baked about 8 minutes faster than those in the baking tray (it is not really a cookie tray, though, too deep and maybe too thick) - an interesting side note.

Once they cooled and I could taste them - they turned out quite good. I will be taking most of them to work - all the even shaped ones, I will eat the side cuts, there are still more than enough...

Here are the things I want to try baking before the end of the year: popovers, eclairs, donuts, traditional American pie, layered cake with frosting from scratch, and sugar cookies with icing from scratch. I have eight weeks and six types of baked goods... Popovers I can do any day when I get home not too late, they shouldn't take too long, but everything else needs to be a weekend project. I am planning a pie for Thanksgiving and a cake for New Year's, and cookies maybe for Christmas, since I am spending it here in NY (I am flying out to see my Mom on the 27th, tickets were way cheaper that way). I can do them the weekend before and maybe take some to my neighbors too... Eclairs I will probably do also over the holidays, since I want my Mom nearby in case I mess up - she is great at them. So that's basically donuts on one of the upcoming weekends! :) I want to try yeast donuts (I like them better than cake donuts, and they are more difficult, therefore, more interesting to make) and I want to bake them, since a) I don't own a deep fryer b) I don't want to have to deal with the used oil if I do heat some in the Dutch oven c) I am pretty sure Beiler's Old Fashioned donuts are hand-rolled and baked, and theirs are the best donuts ever. Even if they are fried, I am still baking mine, for reasons above...

I also need to find some use(s) for the sweet peach salsa. My Mom sent me three jars, and I tasted it for the first time today. I am not really fond of it - I don't like sweet taste in savory dishes. I don't even like barbecue sauce (which my Mom loves, that's probably why she made the salsa so sweet)... I will try to give away two jars and keep the one Mom said is from another batch, hotter and less sweet.

Also I made a lovely beet salad and pork schnitzels. Yum. Lots of time in the kitchen today, but it was fun and it was worth it. :) Also I can see now why so many of the chefs were and are men. It's not easy - pounding 10 pork chops to within a few millimeters of their life! My right arm was just about falling off when I finished.